Ancelotti says Real Madrid in Champions League final ‘mode’

Carlo Ancelotti has said Real Madrid are “in Champions League mode” ahead of their final clash with Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on Saturday.

Madrid played their last LaLiga game of the season on Saturday — a 0-0 draw with Real Betishaving wrapped up the league title weeks earlier, and now have a week to prepare for the Champions League final.

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The Spanish giants are the most successful team in European Cup history, winning the competition 14 times, including five in the last decade.

“The cold sweat arrives on Saturday afternoon,” Ancelotti said at Madrid’s pre-final media day at their Valdebebas training ground.

“The fear, that’s normal. I have experience. My team gives me confidence and hope. They look focused on the game. They’re in Champions League mode.”

Ancelotti’s teams have reached nine European Cup finals — three as a player, and six as a manager — and he is now hoping to land his second Champions League since returning to Madrid in 2021 for his second spell as coach.

“It’s always the same ahead of these games,” he said. “Excitement, happiness, being involved in the most important game of the season… We’re not on holiday yet, and the other teams are. They’ll see the game on TV.”

Ancelotti refused to confirm that back-from-injury Thibaut Courtois would start the final in goal, ahead of Andriy Lunin, as ESPN has reported.

“It’s very difficult,” Ancelotti said. “Of course it’s really difficult, because both of them deserve to play this final. Lunin has had a fantastic season, Courtois is back from his injury.”

“One of the two is going to play,” he added, laughing, “and the other will be on the bench.”

The Italian coach said midfielder Toni Kroos — who announced his retirement last week — doesn’t need another trophy to be remembered as a club legend.

“Let’s hope he can end his career with the Champions League, he deserves it,” Ancelotti said. “He’s gone down in Real Madrid history, he’s already there, but ending with a Champions League would be fantastic.”